Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

Last year Trump ordered former chief of staff John Kelly to give American prince Jared Kushner a top secret security clearance, despite the protests from senior intelligence and administration officials. Trump's override freaked out Kelly and former White House counsel Don McGahn so much that they both wrote memos memorializing their disagreements like a common Comey, citing intelligence reports highlighting Kushner's shady business deals and sketchy friends. Kushner is currently farting around the Middle East, partying with the likes of Mr. Bonesaw, and attempting to sell his terrible Middle East peace plan.

Your new EPA director is Andrew Wheeler, the former coal lobbyist who has a hard-on for deregulation. The 52-47 vote was largely along party lines after Republican Sen. Susan Collins voted against Wheeler's nomination and argued that, while Wheeler might be more competent than former director Scott Pruitt, "the policies he has supported ... are not in the best interest of our environment and public health, particularly given the threat of climate change to our nation."

On Tuesday House Ethics chair Rep. Ted Deutch ripped HHS officials a new asshole after they tried to deny sexual abuse of immigrant children in Trump's baby jails. Now HHS is demanding Deutch apologize for "deliberately or negligently mischaracterizing the data" that clearly shows it was contractors hired by Trump's HHS who were molesting children. OH, well, when you put it like that ....

The Trump administration quietly extended Temporary Protected Status to people from Haiti, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, and Sudan (AKA "shithole countries").

This morning Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee announced #HesRunning. The 68-year-old two-term governor's platform is centered on defeating climate change, according to a campaign video (that was being difficult at press time). [Video]

Our Moment

Trump's 2020 campaign is quietly freaking about its financial situation. Politico reports the campaign wants the America First Action PAC to spearhead a billion dollar money laundering fundraising effort, but it can't find anyone who simultaneously holds clout inside Republican mega donor circles, and the trust of Donald Trump. Meanwhile the RNC thinks its best chance to defeat Democrats is to pick at primary candidates while quietly struggling to build up its campaign infrastructure.

House Republicans have been using some sneaky procedural moves to trick moderate and freshman Democrats into voting for GOP measures. In response to these shenanigans, Democratic leadership decided against changing the rules to keep legislators from embarrassing themselves, and instead opted to put moderates and freshman on notice. WaPo reports Nancy Pelosi telling members, "We are either a team or we're not," and adds Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is backing Pelosi, ready to send texts and tweets to rally progressives against Blue Dog stupidity, and primary their asses in 2020. In their defense, freshman Rep. Xochitl Torres Small is said to have emotionally pleaded for progressives to accept the political reality of purple swing districts, though Pelosi stated she would throw the might of the DCCC behind anyone who decided to grow a pair.

Tea Party wackjob Mark Meadows told reporters, "there isn't a racial bone" in his body after people dug up video of him repeatedly screaming about "sending [Obama] back to Kenya, or wherever it is," back in 2012. Meadows then pulled out several rumpled stock photos of black people and called them his friends.

Fun Fact: A new analysis from Andrew Tyndall, a media researcher, shows how the Tea Party nutjobs and the Gingrich revolt received way more media attention than the #BlueWave on network TV newscasts.

Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger might have FFUUCCKKEEDD UP when he decided to run his mouth on Twitter about Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers's decision to recall 200 National Guardsman from the southern border hours before the official order went public. Roll Call notes that Kinzinger, as a commissioned officer, is legally barred from criticizing a slew of federal and state officials, including Wisconsin's governor. WOMP WOMP!

The self-described Florida man formally known as Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz got a phone call from Trump while he was in Hanoi thanking him for ALLEGEDLY threatening Michael Cohen, and Gaetz replied, "I was happy to do it for you. You just keep killing it," according to the Atlantic's Edward-Isaac Dovere. The conservative Washington Examiner reports Gaetz responded by tweeting, "#FakeNews."

Even as cases of measles continue to skyrocket across the world, anti-vaxxers are sticking to their disease-ridden guns and pushing legislation to ease vaccination restrictions in state houses. In Montana, state Rep. Theresa Manzella is pushing bills that will let kids into daycare without vaccinations, and ease rules on placing kids in foster care if the family has rugrats who aren't vaccinated. [The bills failed.] Meanwhile, in Texas, state reps Bill Zedler and Matt Kruse not only want to make it easier to get exemptions for vaccinations, but also keep the state health department from tracking how many brats have exemptions so kids aren't bullied for having shitty parents.

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is literally BEGGING Amazon to come back to New York. In an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos published in the New York Times this morning, Cuomo says he'll take "personal responsibility for the project's state approval," and that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will make the whippersnappers and hipsters an offer they can't refuse. Naturally, the letter is signed by some of the biggest names and heavy hitters in high finance.

Florida Man and former Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage says an attempt by states to bypass the Electoral College will leave white people "forgotten" in the electoral process. LePage called in to a local radio show to say, "Actually what would happen if they do what they say they're gonna do is white people will not have anything to say. It's only going to be the minorities that would elect. It would be California, Texas, Florida,"

Trump is claiming that "we just took over 100 percent" of the territory controlled by ISIS/ISIL/whatever in Syria, but foreign policy nerds, senior administration officials, and commanders on the ground say, "It's 100 percent not true." Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the Pentagon is suggesting a plan to withdrawl all US and international forces within five years as part of peace negotiations the Trump administration has been undertaking with Taliban forces and the Afghan government.

As Israelis get ready to head to the polls, Israel's attorney general says his office will indict Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges for trading political favors in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts, like cigars, Champagne, jewelry, and good headlines in the press.

Michael Cohen will be BACK before the House Intelligence Committee to spill the beans behind closed doors. After Cohen's testimony on Wednesday, House Republicans demanded Trump's AG William Barr investigate Cohen for lying to Congress (again) while House Democrats began sketching out Cohen's map of Trump's financial crimes. They're already drawing up questions and subpoenas for Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg, Felix Sater, and maybe even JaVanka! Trump has been going ballistic on Twitter all morning, screaming about Michael Cohen being a liar and a criminal. Well, it takes one to know one.

Chelsea Manning might play a role in the whole Trump-Russia saga as she says she's fighting a subpoena to testify before a grand jury. Manning tells the New York Times that prosecutors want to talk to her about her time dealing with Julian Assange, but she's decided to throw a tantrum instead.

Here's a rundown of the shitshow at CPAC in no particular order: Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens are leading the young Republicans by the ears, disgraced asshole Ollie North hypocritically criticized Michael Cohen for lying to Congress, the "My Pillow" guy thinks Trump is a beautiful blonde Jesus (or something), Laura Ingraham screamed about hippie socialist transgendered Mexican-Muslims wanting to "terminate life after birth," token black guys ran around with guns, and Seb Gorka thinks THEY are coming for your hamburgers, like Stalin always wanted.

Trump-funding casino magnate Sheldon Adelson might by dying after one of his company's lawyers revealed in court that he was suffering from "dire" health conditions, and thus couldn't be deposed in litigation concerning a Hong Kong casino project. The Las Vegas Review-Journal confirms that Adelson has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. ICYMI: Adelson has a long history of being a gigantic scumbag who exploits people and buys politicians; obviously we're all broken up about it. [ProPublica Podcast]

And here's your morning Nice Time! AFRICAN PENGUINS!

African Penguin Cuties!

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or lying in a gutter taking photos.

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.

Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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